Portimonense: ups and downs



Portimonense enjoyed mixed fortunes as a winning start to the League Cup third round group stage in mid-week was marred by a subsequent Liga NOS home defeat by Braga on Sunday.

The team selections for Wednesday’s Cup tie made it clear that both managers’ priorities at this stage of the season lie elsewhere as Antonio Folha started none of the players used during the previous league match against Setúbal while Vítor Oliveira’s 11 featured only two regulars.

Nonetheless, a lively encounter saw the visitors take the lead through a Hackman header on the stroke of half time before Juan Villa restored parity 10 minutes into the second half after Gonda had blocked Lino’s initial effort. The match looked to be heading for a draw until Willyan scored at the far post with another header in the fifth minute of time added on.

The win gained added significance as Group C favourites Sporting Lisbon surprisingly lost their opening match 2-1 at home to Rio Ave, setting up a ‘mini-final’ this Saturday evening when the Vila do Conde club comes south to face Portimonense in a potentially decisive second group clash. Note that Sporting will also have to play in the Algarve in December to complete the round, with the four group winners meeting in the semi-finals of the competition.

The ‘A’ team was back for the weekend’s league match with Braga, but much like the previous Porto home game, Portimonense hardly showed up during the first half. An opening ‘bombardment’ of corner kicks from the visitors culminated in Paulinho forcing home keeper Ricardo Ferreira into a good save after quarter of an hour, followed by continuing pressure with André Horta, Galeno and João Novais all going close. Inevitably, Paulinho did eventually find the back of the net after 33 minutes and could have made it two before the interval but for another excellent stop from Ferreira. In response, Portimonense could only muster efforts from Marlos and Willyan, both off target, while agitation on the bench resulted in the expulsion of assistant coach Rui Lemos.

At the restart, Folha brought on Tabata and Iury Castilho for the ineffective Marlos and Cevallos and suddenly the hosts found themselves in the driving seat.

Within 10 minutes, Tabata and Jackson Martinez managed to combine well on four occasions, the best of which saw opposition keeper Matheus produce a diving save at his near post. The side netting stopped another Jackson header before Aylton Boa Morte, Lucas Fernandes and Romulo all got in on the act – but all to no avail as Matheus stood firm, the clock ticking down for another winless game which leaves the Algarveans only a point above the two relegation places.